Updated January 12th, 2024 at 18:26 IST

West Bengal: Week after attack on ED, officials raid residences of TMC minister, leader

The ED conducted search operations at the residences of West Bengal Minister Sujit Bose and Trinamool Congress MLA Tapas Roy on Friday.

Reported by: Abhishek Tiwari
ED on Friday raided residences of West Bengal Minister Sujit Bose and TMC MLA Tapas Roy. | Image:X/ Representational
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Kolkata: A week after the massive attack on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 5, the central probe agency on Friday conducted search operations at the residences of West Bengal Minister Sujit Bose and Trinamool Congress MLA Tapas Roy. Not only this, the ED also raided another TMC leader on the same day.

Sources said that the raids were conducted in connection with the alleged irregularities in civic body recruitments. Sujit Bose is the minister of Fire and Emergency Services of West Bengal. This has come up a week after the ED officials were attacked, while they were on their way to conduct a search operation at the residence of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district.

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According to the information, the officials initially faced resistance when they reached the residence of Minister Sujit Bose to conduct search operations at around 7 am. However, the officials gained access after about 40 minutes. "We are carrying a search warrant but even after showing it, we were initially not allowed to enter," an ED officer said.

Adequate deployment of central forces was ensured to prevent any untoward incident

In a departure from the previous instances in the state, a substantial contingent of central police personnel cordoned off Bose's residence and prevented any gathering of party supporters near it. The central forces were equipped with additional protective gear, including helmets and automatic guns.

The sleuths of the central agency searched two residences of Bose in the Lake Town area of North 24 Parganas district. Additionally, searches were conducted at Roy's BB Ganguly Street residence in Central Kolkata and Subodh Chakraborty's residence at Birati in the same district. During the raids forces from the respective local police stations were also dispatched to the residences of the three leaders.

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The security was heightened at all the locations, where the ED was carrying out raids. This beefed up security was ensured after the violent attack on ED officers which left three of them injured during an attempt to raid the home of TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan at Sandeshkhali in connection with the ration distribution scam.

Meanwhile, the TMC has once again denounced the coordinated searches at the homes of the party leaders terming them as vendetta politics and a desperate manoeuvre by the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls this year.

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Senior TMC leader Kunal Ghosh asserted, "This is an attempt to divert the public and media's attention from various burning issues. The BJP appears to be sensing growing public discontent and is using every means at its disposal to change the narrative. This is a clear example of vendetta politics.”

TMC leader and West Bengal Industry Minister Shashi Panja hit out at the Centre alleging that central investigation agencies are being used as a tool to harass leaders of opposition parties. "It is crystal clear that the Centre is using the central investigating agencies as a tool for this," she said.

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Meanwhile, dismissing the charges, BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, "Whenever the ED or CBI conduct raids, the TMC leaders' cry foul and accuse them of being politically motivated. The reality is that the TMC is deeply mired in corruption with nearly every leader facing corruption allegations."

Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, took a jibe at Bose by asking him to keep his bags packed. "The ED has raided his residence based on some inputs. He should keep his bags packed in case he is arrested," Adhikari said.

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BJP MP Dilip Ghosh said it is the beginning of TMC’s 'Khela Hobe (the game is on)' slogan. "We have been hearing the Khela Hobe slogan. The real Khela Hobe has started now. Those who have been in the game will not be spared," he said.

Earlier, TMC Minister Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondal were arrested by the probe agencies in 2022 in various corruption cases. Following which, the state Forest Minister Jyotipriyo Mallick was arrested on October 27 last year in the ration distribution scam.
 

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Published January 12th, 2024 at 18:26 IST